I wear glasses and the biggest problem I encounter is that I simply forget where I have kept them. Now imagine a scenario where I could search them on Google and could get result like “it is lying on to the refrigerator”. It may sound bizarre but with Internet of Things (IOT), this could be a reality.
IOT is a concept where each object across the universe can be mapped to a network and can be accessed anywhere on the cloud. It requires assigning IP addresses to the objects and storing it on the network. This is attainable with the introduction of IPV6, latest version of internet protocol. IPV6 is different from IPV4 mainly in terms of a bigger address space than IPV4. So how big is IPV6?
340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 – That many IP addresses can be stored in IPV6.
Wikipedia explains it as
The very large IPv6 address space supports a total of 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses – or approximately 5×1028 (roughly 295) addresses for each of the roughly 6.5 billion (6.5×109) people alive today. In a different perspective, this is 252 addresses for every observable star in the known universe.
With that available space, every person on Earth can assign IP address to each object in their house and could access it through a network. In a nutshell we can create our own Google for our day to day used things. So next time when we forget our car keys, we can just Google it.
Let’s understand how it works. Suppose we assign an IP address to each bus in our city and also to the seats inside it. The assigned IP address will allow us to access the seats inside a bus through internet. Now we want to know if someone has occupied the seats or not. This can be done if we assign senses to bus seats. A pressure sensor will let us know if seats are vacant or occupied. Now imagine yourself standing on a bus stop and checking if the coming bus has a vacant seat or not on your mobile. Visualise the possibility of traffic management if all the vehicles in a city can be monitored on a network.
Similarly a person with heart ailment may link his pacemaker to his mobile which is eventually connected to hospital’s tracking system. So before anything goes wrong, your mobile alerts the hospital and calls an ambulance.
An alert system based on IOT can trigger an alert if it senses unauthorized movement in your house. Or you go to super market to buy household stuff and your refrigerator sends you a reminder to buy milk. Imagine your washing machine calls you to tell that it has completed the cycle.
Furthermore, IOT is going to change the entire business dynamics in relation to value offering by companies. Conventionally, creating value offering for a customer involved understanding their needs and coming up with suitable products. But with advent of IOT the products can be tracked down and new features can be offered on a regular basis. So that, the features would be in totally in line with a particular customer’s need.
In addition to features, service can also be augmented based on real time performance data of a product. An apt example would be, tracking a new car’s performance and before it starts going down on mileage, we can contact clients to counter servicing issues or product deficiency. In this manner, not only we create value to a customer but we also improve on our products. The possibilities or application of IOT is numerous and the benefit is countless.
But with all these benefits, the biggest challenge would be countering security concerns. If everything is available on network then it enhances the risk associated with these kinds of applications. The reality is whether you like it or not IOT is going to revolutionize the entire globe.